Labour of Love
When I was kid I got a job as an apprentice chef at a coaching hotel in a south Devon seaside town. I went for the interview early one morning; I was the only boy there without a parent. I drank a miniature scotch before I went in. An office in the kitchen – the head chef was ex-services.
I bought my chef whites and blue checked trousers – I hadn’t read Orwell’s ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ yet. I’d worked in a seafront fish and chip joint, Greek, Indian restaurants and a nightclub kitchen before I was fifteen.
Some years later I’d pop round home and my mum would say ‘Go on make us a nice omelette’. I’d refined my omelette making skills with some top tips from Bob who ran Pepe’s café until bankruptcy forced him up north to his wife’s carpet business. The chef’s gear would come out from under the stairs and I’d make mum an omelette. She’s be laughing with her Embassy and Crossroads in the front room while I did my very best in the cramped kitchen.